What is Apple’s Siri?

Speak naturally; Siri knows what you say.  The new iPhone 4 “ambassador” allows you to send messages, make calls, check the weather or sports scores, and more.  Unlike other voice recognition software – think of those telephone menu services – Siri can decipher your natural speech.  If it doesn’t quite get you, it can ask questions.  In beta, Siri is already prompting some to call it an SEO killer, or at least a local SEO killer.  Why?  What can Siri do to local?

Say you are in a new city and are looking for a restaurant.  You ask your trusty personal assistant, Siri, to find you a good Thai restaurant.  Siri processes the request, automating the search process.  You don’t have to bother with entering in a search, and so you bypass traditional SERPs and PPC ads.  If Siri proves to be a well-loved and well-used tool for Apple fans, this could limit the impact of both SEO and PPC.

Regardless of how Siri gathers the information or what sources it pulls on, local businesses need to optimise for mobile searchIn the next few years, the percentage of local searchers will increase; by 2015, a local component is expected to be included in almost one-third of searchers.  Siri doesn’t have to be an SEO killer; you just need to be able to work around it.  Focus on adding a mobile site template and streamlining graphics and navigation.

Concentrate on local SEO, and make sure your address, number, email, hours, etc., are easy to see and access.  Make sure you’re in all the right places – Google Places, Yahoo and Bing Local, Yelp, Savings.com, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Citysearch, and other directories can provide enhanced exposure, and Siri may draw on this data to help answer queries.

Siri is an exciting new feature, and it can be an opportunity to kick more businesses into local gear.

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